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  • Blog Post: What Now?

    I have had some readers ask what is to become of this blog. Well, it started out discussing Office Development , then it covered Threat Modelling , and most recently it has been about HDi . There have been several posts about the Pet Shop Boys and then there was this little post , too. That's the cool...
  • Blog Post: Fun Friends for Functions, Part 2: Handling Exceptions

    Previously we looked at how you can bind a function to a set of arguments and then call the resultant function at some time in the future. This technique is very powerful, but as-is it is a ticking bomb. As Amy points out in her blog post on exception handling , you always need to be prepared to handle...
  • Blog Post: Fun Friends For Functions

    And now for a more techy post. In ECMAScript, functions are considered first-class objects. "What," you might ask, "differentiates a 'first-class' object from a merely 'economy-class' object?" Well, the main thing is that functions in ECMAScript are treated just like any other type of data (strings,...
  • Blog Post: HD DVD Emulator for Xbox 360!

    It's finally here! The Xbox 360 HD DVD Emulator went live today, enabling content authors to test their HD DVD content in a real-world consumer player before committing it to a shiny disc. This can save a lot of time and a lot of money for those folks building advanced HD DVD titles. It might help you...
  • Blog Post: Simple ACA dumper

    Quick one today – if you have an ACA with some files in it, you can use the createaca tool (provided as part of the Jumpstart Kit ) to list the files inside it. Trouble is that the output is not very helpful; it contains too much information. So here is a simple JScript file you can run on the output...
  • Blog Post: Helpful Tracing Routines

    Last time we looked at conditional compilation , and how using it with HDiSim could aid with interactive debugging of runtime exceptions. But as useful as interactive debugging is, there are three major cases where it is impractical or impossible: When the bug is timing related, and using a debugger...
  • Blog Post: Using Conditional Compilation in HDi

    One of the cardinal rules for developing HD DVD applications is, "let no exception go unhandled." The reason for this is simple – if you fail to handle an exception, the player will kill your application and stop the disc. This leads many developers to wrap entire functions in try / catch blocks, which...
  • Blog Post: link

    No, not the application.link API. A web link. Or two. Some of you may have noticed a new name on the HD DVD Forums of late: Amy Dullard . She also has a great blog that focuses on getting people up-and-running with HDi. Check it out at http://blogs.msdn.com/amyd . Another person you might recognise...
  • Blog Post: A Game of Chance that Pirates like to Play

    Ahoy there me laddies! Yarrrr you better be readin' this blog then matey, or you'll be feelin' the lick o' the cat come nightfall! No, it's not Talk Like a Pirate Day ; it's Let's Post Another HDi Game Day . The other week I posted an HDi sample based of the old arcade game Space Invaders . Today...
  • Blog Post: Coloured Blocks Advancing on a Moving Block

    This blog would be titled Space Invaders , but I don't own that trademark so I had to choose something a bit more generic. This is a preliminary post to show a very hacked up version of the popular game in HDi. Note that I hope to follow up with a more complete version at some stage, but people have...
  • Blog Post: The Difference Between “Selected” and “Current” tracks

    In HD DVD, there are two ways to figure out which subtitle or audio track the user has chosen. The selectedAudioTrackNumber (and selectedAudioLanguageCode / selectedAudioLanguageCodeExtension ) properties refer to the track (language) that the user has selected, but they may or may not represent the...
  • Blog Post: A tip for writing script for HD DVD

    A very quick tip today, although this one trips me up a lot . When you write script files for your HDi applications, always include a blank line at the start of the file and at the end of the file. This is because the player will concatenate all the individual files together and execute them as a...
  • Blog Post: Red Box Debugging

    Today I have a simple debugging tip. Sometimes when you have an obscure bug, you need to answer the question "is my code even getting executed?" Often you can find that really obscure bugs are caused simply by a bad conditional, a typo, an unexpected exception, or some other flow-control issue that...
  • Blog Post: Simple Pre-Processor for HDi

    Hope you all had a good break. I haven't blogged for a while due to travel (both business and pleasure) and laziness… but I thought I'd start off today with simple pre-processor for HDi. One of the things that is missing from HD DVD is a good pre-processor; anyone familiar with C will know of all...
  • Blog Post: Script Execution Order in HD DVD

    An HDi application can use multiple script files so that you can better manage your code (more manageable files; easier source control; etc.). You do this simply by listing the files inside <Script> elements inside the manifest (and of course add the appropriate <Resource> elements if they...
  • Blog Post: Toggling Menus with the Menu button in 100% Markup

    Here's a quick one: How do you have an HD DVD menu that opens and closes when you click the Menu button, but doesn't require any script? It's pretty easy, but it relies on using a dummy element to hold your state; in this case whether the menu "can open" or whether the menu "can close." For this example...
  • Blog Post: Bare Bones HD DVD Interactivity

    We spend a fair amount of time focusing on "cool" menus in HD DVD -- with animations, transparency, and so on -- but sometimes you just want to get a title out and all you really needs is a basic menu system. You may even have some assets already set up from your standard-def DVD that you can just re...
  • Blog Post: Adding Picture-In-Picture to an HD DVD Title

    Picture-in-Picture (PIP) is one of those "cool" features in HD DVD that looks really difficult but is really easy to do -- contrast that with so many other things that look simple or are taken for granted, but take forever to implement... That's not to say it's easy for the player manufacturer to support...
  • Blog Post: Using unsetProperty With Script Animations

    A common theme lately has been confusion about the unsetProperty API used by scripts in HD DVD, but it's actually quite simple once you know the rules. One complication is the behaviour of the state properties, which act slightly differently than the style properties, and this behaviour was not clearly...
  • Blog Post: Scrolling Menus in 100% Pure Markup

    After looking at drop-down menus in 100% pure markup , we turn our attention to scrolling lists. These can be used for things like chapter menus or other long lists of items. This demo is horizontal, but you could do it vertically also (and in fact, I have a different sample that takes a different approach...
  • Blog Post: First European HD DVD Title is Open Source

    Well, this should get the Slashdot folks on our side :-) Andrew pinged me this morning about the Elephants Dream HD DVD relea s e in Europe. The name was familiar to me, but I didn’t know why... had it won an Oscar(R) or something? No, it’s because Elephants Dream is the world’s first “open source...
  • Blog Post: How do I get started with iHD?

    Many DVD authoring professionals may be wondering how they can get started with HD DVD. Probably the first thing to do is to download the iHD Jumpstart kit and get yourself a good XML editor (like the free Visual Studio Web Developer edition ) and a graphics program like Photoshop or the Microsoft Expressions...
  • Blog Post: Drop-Down Menus in 100% Pure Markup

    The samples lately may have seemed a bit "script heavy" for a system that is supposed to be markup based, so today we have a drop-down menu system driven entirely from markup, savvy? Of course the menu doesn't do anything without script (it is just a visual thing; any actual behaviour like changing...
  • Blog Post: Pretty Buttons

    Tonight's sample is for animating buttons in a generic way. As with all the samples on my blog, this is just one way you can approach things in iHD; nothing says it is the only way (or even the best way). The animation will be a simple "roll-over" effect whereby buttons highlight when the mouse is over...
  • Blog Post: Radio Groups in iHD

    One of the things you take for granted in many programming environments is the default "widget" set that includes things like buttons, text boxes, and so on. These widgets make up the basic UI that your applications displays to users to display data and receive input. iHD provides these basic building...
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